Mr. Edward Boateng, Ghana’s Ambassador to the Peoples Republic of China, has stressed the critical role Africans in the Diaspora can play in the building of Africa as a global giant.
Speaking to participants at a Forum for the African Diaspora in China as part of events marking the 56th Anniversary of Africa Day, Mr. Boateng called on Africans in the Diaspora to support the ongoing transformation agenda being championed in Africa, and added that all developed nations achieved this feat with the support of citizens who returned with knowledge, skills, experiences and ideas acquired from other countries.
Mr. Boateng said remittances from the diaspora to sub-Saharan Africa was US$46billion in 2018, higher than aid; and excluding valuation of their skills and knowledge, the diaspora has a critical role to play in Africa’s growth.
He juxtaposed Africa’s growth trajectory to that of China and asserted that even though there are differences in certain areas, both sides share a similar history and values, such as the power of social relationships and a deep cultural sensibility.
He stated: “There are so many strategies we can learn and modify to suit our individual development paths from China’s 40 years of opening-up and development agenda. The lifting of over 500 million people from poverty, giant strides in the digital economy among others have lessons to be learnt, compared with what we have on the continent; and with solutions from other nations, we can devise tailor-made solutions to be viable within an African context”.
He was however quick to add that the Africa-China comparisons must be done tactfully, because whereas China is a country Africa is a continent with 54 sovereign countries – each having its political system, governance, history and culture.
That notwithstanding, initiatives such as the African Continental Free Trade Agreement can minimise the barriers if well-implemented.
Mr. Boateng explained government’s 1D1F policy, and informed participants of the benefits and incentives available for investors to set up businesses which will add value to Ghanaian produce – and by extension, Africa.
With flexible trading agreements within Africa taking shape and Ghana’s efforts in becoming the regional hub for production and industrialisation, investing in Ghana is strategic. He also shared the creative ‘Year of Return’ initiative launched by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in 2018 as some of the initiatives Ghana is taking to attract the Ghanaian and African diaspora into the country.
Themed ‘The Role of the Diaspora in Building the Africa We Want’, the forum was organised by Duapa Africa in collaboration with the African Group of Ambassadors, the African Union Representative Office to China, and the African Diaspora in China for Africans and people of African descent in China.
Other diplomats and speakers present were: Charles Namondwe, Malawian Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China; Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga, Rwandese Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China; Martin Mpana, Cameroonian Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China; Tania Romualdo, Cabo Verdean Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China; Rahamtalla Mohammed Osman, Permanent Representative of the African Union to the People’s Republic of China; Mr. Ma Zhenxuan, President of the Public Diplomacy and Cultural Exchange Centre; and Musa Frimpong, CEO of Duapa Africa.